Tuesday, January 26, 2016

February Challenge

Hi guys! 
So, I have some fun news that some of you may want to join in on. 
Over at Go Teen Writers *sniffle*not a teen anymore *sniffle* they are going to be doing a challenge starting in February where you come up with a different story idea every day for the entire month of January. It's just a little something to get the creative juices flowing, make you look around at things differently, and see the story in everything. And, obviously, to hopefully come up with your next fabulous novel idea. 
The challenge is open to anyone, and there is a Amazon gift card drawing involved, and anything Amazon has got to be great, so I will be participating. 
I saw it and immediately had ideas start popping into my head, which really defeats the point, because I have to make up new ones, and its not even the correct month yet. 
I really like this challenge idea though, because so often the writing challenges I see online consist of writing so many hundreds or thousand words a day, or devoting this much time to just writing, or something along those lines, and I just don't have time for that anymore. It's a lot harder to find time to commit to writing twelve hundred words a day, especially since my creative juices have froze and it would take me three times longer than it used to. 
This one is much less stressful, but still creatively stimulating, and I'm hoping to thaw out the old creative genius and get it up and running again. You can follow the link up there to read all about it, and get registered if you would like to join me. 
If I come up with any absolutely stellar ideas I'll be sure to share them with you as the month progresses. 
I've also got a few posts in the works for the remainder of this month, so stay tuned for that. 
Until then, farewell! 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Hi guys!! 
So, yes, I've been gone awhile. I do have an excuse to make up for four of the days I was gone though. 
I flew to Arizona.

Me, who watched six seasons of LOST and swore I would never fly, got in a plane and went across the country to Arizona.

So, obviously, this post is to tell you guys all about whether or not I survived.

The whole point of the trip was to go to Jarod's dad's wedding. So on Thursday morning we took off for the airport three hours away. The whole idea of security terrified me, and I've never packed so little in my life. I was just certain I'd end up over the weight limit, or throw something in that would get me put in jail. You know, fingernail clippers are so heinous.
Anyway, it turned out to not be that big of a deal. Threw my shoes and purse in a box and let it roll down the belt, and I didn't even have to go through the metal detector. Not sure why. Must be my extreme look of innocence.

Anyway, we were one of the last ones to board the plane and when we got in I was instantly terrified that I wouldn't be able to sit with Jarod, but an awesome lady traded spots with me so I could sit by him. Good thing too, because I needed my hand held most of the way and I don't think the wife across from me would have liked me clinging to her hubby.

Take off freaked me out. Like, Jarod's driving scares me. Flooring a plane right off the ground was scary. I didn't get nauseous, but the pressure really messed me up. I felt like I had a stuffy nose, and about twenty minutes into the flighty I lost hearing. I had been chewing gum, and my ears were popping, but apparently not good enough, because I couldn't hear anything, and my broken ear drum hurt like crazy. It took Jarod till we got to Arizona to notice that the blank look I kept giving him every time he opened his mouth meant that I didn't have any clue what he was saying. Then he told me to plug my nose and blow. Talk about freaky when you can suddenly hear an airplane engine.
Besides that the flight was alright.  I had an isle seat, so I couldn't see the wings shaking every time we hit turbulence.
I did not like landing. Too much dropping, way too fast, and reversing the engines about snapped my neck.
Had no problem finding my bags, and pretty much stayed glued to Jarod the whole way out.

There was a gentleman named Abraham getting us our rental car and he was fascinated by the cowboy gear Jarod wearing. Yes sir, he does dress like that every day.

We landed in Phoenix, and getting out on a six lane one way interstate was interesting. Jarod wasn't old enough to drive the car, so his aunt had to. It was scary, but she did good and we survived the trip to Tucson.

Let me just state for the record, that there ain't jack to see in Arizona. Like it's cool for a few minutes, but once you've seen a mountain and a cactus, there is nothing else new. They all look the same. And that is all there is. Acres of cactus and scrub brush. And instead of landscaping, the cities are just built around the clumps of cactus. So much wasted space. It's no wonder those cities are huge.

We stopped at a burger joint that Jarod swears was fantastic but....

Did you know men in Arizona wear capris with leggings underneath them? True fact. And flannel pajama pants are totally acceptable to wear with leather jackets.

We missed the turn to go to his dad's house, so Jarod said to just go straight. A few miles later he said he had no idea where we were, he was just assuming we could go straight. Technically, yes, we were physically able to go straight. Straight to nowhere. Turned around and eventually made it there.
Nice little brown houses that look identical with matching cactus landscapes in the front yard.

Jarod immediately latched onto his dog Jake, and the dog must have remembered him because he stayed in his lap for four days.

First night I woke up at four. Which was five my normal time. Couldn't sleep, so I texted Jarod out in the camper in the back yard. He's not a morning person. He was not thrilled.

Friday we walked around the yard and looked at all the different cactus'. The pool was full, but it was only fifty degrees and not very appealing. In the afternoon we headed off to the wedding. Me and Jarod were banned from any preparations which suited us, so we roamed around the golf resort and looked at the palm trees and cactus'. The mountains go all the way around Tucson, but the cactus and buildings and trees blocked most of my pictures.

For some reason being at a wedding made us both sentimental mushy fluff balls. It was great.

The wedding was nice, and the bride had a stargazer come so me and Jare spent a good part of the evening looking at planets with the certified nerd running the telescope. There were family pictures, and we ate, and then they had a dance. The bride finally convinced Jarod to dance with me, because I couldn't get him to stop talking about pickups with his old neighbors. She taught me to two step, and his dad tried to teach him. Must not have worked because when we danced together it was ridiculous but lots of fun. Then we turned to zombies and tried to stay awake and finally dad told his aunt to take us home.

Saturday Jarod's grandpa drove up from the border town Rio Rico and we ate at Ihop. The dude was hilarious, and we had tons of fun. Dinner turned into a three hour gab fest. I ate all my food without Jarod stealing any. It was a successful venture.

We were supposed to drop off a rental movie on the way back, but Jarod forgot till we got home and he insisted he couldn't go with us, but that we could. His exact words were "Go down and take that little bumpy road. It's called Sumpter, or summer, sumner..something, and it goes by that school you know, and then get into the safeway." And he left.

Well we missed the Sumter road and made a u turn in the cactus. There was no school. Turns out Safeway is a store. And the movie goes in  a kiosk inside. Me and Rosie took selfies in case we got lost and died, they would be able to identify us and know we looked fab till the end. On the way home we pulled over in the cactus and took pictures of us and the mountains.

Once we had been home for ten minutes I texted the master navigator who was working on a little road ranger out back and asked him where the movie went. He called rather freaked out wondering where I was. He hung up when I said the living room.

Me and Jarod watched Minions in the evening and talked like little yellow pills for a good while.

We ate way too much and moved way too little.

There is nothing to do there. Look at cactus'. Watch Green Bay Packers lose the game. Try not to get too happy because the future father in law was devastated about it. *victory dance*

Got up early Sunday morning and packed all the gear outside and headed back to Phoenix. I had to go through the metal detector that time, and that scared the tar out of me. The lady was like "relax. Honey relax. PUT YOUR ARMS DOWN."

I got a window seat this time, and Jarod and Rosie got to sit with me. So I took pictures of all the states. Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, and home sweet home. Kansas was entirely under clouds though and it looked like we were over Antarctica. Jarod was practically in my lap looking out the window. We were both like excited little kids pointing at stuff and pestering his aunt to look too.

I was slightly less freaked out about the return flight, but I still hate every time the plane turns. It feels like we're gonna roll over and plummet to my death. The scenery is great till you imagine smacking into it.

You know, you think roads are fairly logical, and relatively square in where they go. They're not. They just go everywhere and criss-cross and they make absolutely no sense when you actually see where they are.

I thought fifties in Arizona was chilly, but it was two degrees when I got home so I guess not. No coat of course. So we froze out for several miles, then warmed up and got ice cream. Because that is how we roll.
I kind of wanted to hammer down for home, but we ended up stopping to look at some trucks that were for sale. We didn't want to buy them guys, we just wanted to look at them and admire their beauty. That's what I was told anyway.

So that concludes the story of the trip. I did have a lot of fun, even though I never want to see another cactus again. I wouldn't ever want to live there, but it was definitely worth the trip to go see.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Things I've learned and Will Learn

Hello everyone! 
I understand I'm about seven days late on this, but the first part of the year was such a whirlwind that this is the best I can do. But, I do want to acknowledge that it is a new year. I'm fairly certain that I have signed every single check I've written thus far with a 2015 instead of '16. I'm also fairly certain they will go through just fine anyway. I'm going to say that this has a deep meaning involving my connection to the past year and my unwillingness to let it go, just to give things a flare for the dramatic.

All silliness aside, 2015 was an amazing year. It was amazing in so many good and bad ways, and I feel like I have learned so much in the span of twelve months. 2015 really brought home being an adult for me. 
I left my single years behind and started dating, only to turn around and leave my dating years behind to be engaged. All in one year. 
I realized that I can function just fine out in the world, and getting up at six am really isn't so bad.

I started off my year fresh out of college and really not sure what to do. I thought I wanted to be a counselor at summer camp. In all honesty, it was mostly out of a desire to be around the christian guys who would come to help out. A job seemed like it was probably in order, but that thought terrified me to no end. I didn't know how to do anything. I'd never had a job before. Would I even be able to make it? With some not so gentle encouragement my parents convinced me to start sending out resumes. I ended up sending one to the camp, and a bunch of other places. My parents told me to pray about it, and if God wanted me at that camp, I wouldn't get one of the full time jobs. It was scary, and overwhelming, and I didn't handle it like I should have all the time. There were lots of tears, and knots in my stomach, and moodiness. 
But I did what they said. I did pray about it. And I got a call for an interview. 
The rest is history. I got the job. Is it my dream job with a phenomenal work environment at all times? 
No. It's not. 
But is it a great learning opportunity? Absolutely. It's boosted my confidence massively. I've discovered that I can run an office on my own. That I can work with customers, and co-workers, and work off a schedule. Not to mention make glasses. That's pretty cool.

Alongside the insanity of diving into the working world, I had a totally different life going on. The one where I was nineteen and had never had a boyfriend. There just weren't any christian guys in my area. I knew a few through homeschool group, but they were younger than me, and lived far away. It seemed like there was no one available to me. My mom is a big fan of Michael and Debbie Pearl, so she was all game for going to other churches and stalking *ehem* I mean, seeing what was available, since that's what the Pearl family has had success with. I was all for giving it a try, though the idea of having to go to Timbucktoo to find a guy, and then trying to maintain a long distance relationship didn't thrill me. I was desperate. I'd try anything. But its kind of hard to take off on Sundays to visit other churches when four of the five people in your family are Sunday school teachers...obligations.

I know I've told you about me and Jarod through The Story, but in reality, there was so much more at work spiritually than what I put into those posts. I'd liked Jarod for five years. Ever since he moved here from Arizona. And he talked to my dad every Sunday, but never to me. I can count on one hand the times he actually spoke to me directly before we started dating. And I can count the exact number of words on two hands. But I liked him. I liked him a lot. And I was desperate to try and get his attention. I'd fix my hair, makeup, wear a nice dress- and he wouldn't come to church. And I'd literally get sick. Then the next week I would wear something like jeans, and bam, he'd show up. And not look at me. And I'd be sick. It got ridiculous.
Now I'd been praying about him for years, but in all the wrong way. I was praying that he would notice me and we'd become best friends and fall madly in love and live happily ever after, the end, my way, how I wanted it. One day I was convicted during a sermon that God gives me what I need, and if I don't have it, then I don't need it. I went home and told God that I understood. And I quit pining. Not to say I didn't still have a crush and hope he might notice I existed on the same planet as him, but it didn't consume me anymore. I was actually able to focus in church like I was supposed to.
A few weeks later he called and asked for a date.

I suppose the biggest thing I've learned this year is that I don't have any control over anything.
And that I need to take everything to the one who is in control of it all.
I've struggled and failed miserably. There have been tests and trials where I have just blew a gasket, and freaked out, and thought the world was coming to an end, and I acted like a little brat for several days. And then it would dawn on me, and I'd remember to pray about it. Trust.
My temper tantrums aren't going to rearrange the stars. But God can. He can move in the heart of anyone, or in any situation and make it work out.

The next big thing that required me to give up control was when Jarod and I broke up. It was massive. I had been so happy that he liked me back, and that we had a chance to see where it would go. It wasn't that I already had the wedding planned out, or anything crazy like that, it was just that I was happy. So happy. God had given me what I wanted. And then it seemed like he was taking it away. And I didn't think it would ever come back, because me and Jarod were just living two very different lives, and I didn't want to go against what I knew God wanted, by trying to keep what I wanted. I knew that kind of Jarod wouldn't make me happy in life. I wrestled with it. And it was hard. I can honestly say that was the worst time of my life. And it took several days, but I finally decided that what I had learned before was still true.
If I didn't have it, I didn't need it.
Making the decision to keep communication going between us was a scary one. I wanted so badly to listen to the promises he was making, but I knew that words are empty if there isn't a change in lifestyle. So I let him call me, and when he wanted to meet on lunch breaks I agreed. And it was a battle to walk the tight rope of being forgiving and giving second chances, and being stupid and taking everything I was fed because it fit the fantasy I had imagined.
It has been amazing to watch Jarod grow in his faith this year. Nothing short of a miracle honestly.

This year has also taught me to trust. For the first several months we were dating again I lived in fear that all the changes he had made were just to make me happy, and if we ever were to get married he would feel safe that he had me and go back to his old ways. I was petrified when I didn't hear from him on Saturday nights, and letting him go off to college a hundred miles away was nerve wracking.
What if he was lying to me? What if I was falling for it?
Time has shown me that he is genuine. I'm confident that if something were to happen that we were no longer together, he would keep following God, hardcore. But before I could get to that point I had to let go and trust Jarod, but mostly God. That he knew what was going on when I wasn't there, and if I would trust him, he wouldn't let me get into anything that would hurt me. 

I learned to let go this year. That my brute force and will power wont make things go how I want. I gave Jarod over to God when it seemed like his faith wasn't important. I told God back then that I loved Jarod already, but I loved God more, and that I didn't want anything that God didn't want for me. And in the next week there was a dramatic change in both of us, and my faith grew. There have been times where I've had to keep giving  Jarod to God. When struggles come I want to buckle down and hang on tight and force things to work. I've had to learn to let go and let God move. 

I've had to do the same thing with my job. Instead of fretting myself sick about how I was going to make it through the co-worker parties, and the conferences, and the environment that wants to destroy my faith, I've tried to take it to God instead, and my faith has grown, and I've survived, and thrived. 

I've learned that people are just people, and they're going to act like people. Flawed, and cruel, and unjust. I've come to realize that I'm no different, and I can't get all worked up when people are like that to me. Do I like the lies and attacks they aim at me? No. And I don't have to. But I can realize that they are just words and they don't have to dictate my life. Just because someone tells a lie about me I don't need to blow up and get in their face and ruin my testimony.  They're lie might not be true, but their point has been proven if I react that way. As hard as it is, I just need to pray and ask the Lord to deal with those people. To convict them of the wrong and soften their hearts, and to help me to turn the other cheek and love those people instead of hating them. 

I've also learned that my faith has to be my own. For awhile I was really busy reading the Bible, and praying and stuff, but it wasn't for me and God's relationship. It was for Jarod's. I talked him into reading the Bible with me, which is a good thing, but I got more focused on him and what he needed to learn than what God was trying to teach me. While Jarod was getting better and growing, I was getting worse. I was trying to live off his food. And because he was flourishing, he was using it all up, and there was nothing left for me, and I began to shrivel. I had to focus on my relationship to the Lord. Not Jarod's relationship to him. My salvation is between me and God. There is no middle man. 

It's been a great year. It's been a hard year. There have definitely been ups and downs. But I wouldn't change it. Even all the bad stuff that happened, that hurt, that scared me, I wouldn't make it any different. Because it helped. I learned and grew and changed, and so did the people around me.
God worked all things out for good. 

And now as I move forward into the next year, and brave the adventure of becoming a wife, I want to keep learning, and not forget what God has taught me so far. I want to not get so caught up in the wedding that I forget to invest in the marriage. I want to be kind to the people around me who are loving and supporting me, and not let my frustrations shoot them down. I want to work on my temper, and not let small things annoy me so easily. I want to keep growing, and keep learning.
The world God created is always changing, and so are people. God, who knows everything, sees it all and knows exactly what I need to learn in each situation. I want an attitude that is pliable and able to be taught. I don't want to get caught in a rut that says I have arrived. I've got it now.
There's always something.